R. I. President & TRF Chair's Monthly Messages

Rotary International Ray Klinginsmith's May 2011 Message

The RI president’s monthly message - May 2011

Show and tell

My fellow Rotarians

My wife, Judie, was a kindergarten teacher for many years, and she often told stories about her "show and tell" experiences, when each of her students was permitted to bring a favorite item to school, such as a pet or toy, and to tell the other children about it. There was always a sense of wonder as the children learned about their classmate's prized possession.

Rotarians often share that same sense of wonder as they learn about the amazing service projects conducted by other Rotary clubs. In fact, there are so many Rotary service projects performed by our 33,000-plus clubs that it is truly impossible for anyone to track them. Many of them go unknown and unrecognized, except to their sponsor clubs, but the totality of such Rotary projects is clearly making the world a better place.

It is unfortunate that we cannot have a giant "show and tell" event where every club could tell the world what it does. We have grown much too large for us to even share the news of our countless service projects with our other clubs. However, the annual conventions provide an opportunity for several clubs, districts, and multidistrict organizations to display their projects in an effective way, and this month's RI Convention in New Orleans will feature many outstanding projects in the House of Friendship.

The New Orleans convention will be a wonderful Rotary event, and I encourage all registrants to spend as much time as possible in the House of Friendship to meet new friends from around the world, to see the displays of Rotary projects, and to enjoy some great entertainment on the two stages. It will open on Saturday morning and be open for more hours than usual during the convention. And for those who cannot attend for more than one day, there is a new Saturday-only pass for $40 per person to sample the House of Friendship!

The convention also will give me a personal "show and tell" opportunity. I can show the base of a pillar, located in the convention center, that supports the giant highway bridge over the Mississippi River. It is the same bridge under which I sailed on a Lykes Line freighter on my way to the University of Cape Town as a Rotary Scholar 50 years ago. And I can, and happily will, tell everyone that it was a Rotary trip that has lasted a lifetime!

Ray Klinginsmith
Building Communities / Bridging Continents
President, Rotary International, 2010-11


TRF Chairman's May 2011 Message

Changing lives in Myanmar

Trustee Chair's monthly message - May 2011

In 1962 all nongovernmental organizations were banned in Myanmar (formerly Burma), and the country has not had any active Rotary clubs ever since.

But, in 2005, a California Rotarian founded the Myanmar Orphanages Safe Water Management Project. Rotary districts 3360, 5230, 6580, and 6740 have each provided support. The project system consists of a compressor and pump placed atop a required proven, existing tube well at any given orphanage site, providing simple access to water for three vital applications: food preparation and drinking, personal bathing and laundry, and sustainable crop irrigation. To date, 18 systems have been completed, and 14 more are in the pipeline – the latter due to five Special Initiative Grants by The Rotary Foundation.

The clean water also provides better health for the children. For instance, skin diseases disappear with the access to clean water. This water system project covers several of Rotary's emphases – health, hunger, and water and sanitation.

There is today a cautious optimism in Myanmar. Changes will not occur overnight. However, this might be a prudent time for Rotary to explore the possibility of reentering Myanmar. It will take time, but everyone who wants to harvest a crop knows that the seeds will have to be planted well in advance, and now may be an opportunity for Rotary to plant those seeds.

I believe we have the connections, both inside and outside of Myanmar, to start making contacts for the purpose of bringing Rotary back. A Rotary club once again in Yangon (formerly Rangoon) would make a super example of Rotary Building Communities – Bridging Continents through Service Above Self.

Foundation Trustee Chair, 2010-11

Source: Rotary International

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